LOGAN SQUARE — In keeping with the seven-year tradition of "dressing up" the Lula Cafe for Halloween, owner Jason Hammel and company will spend Wednesday afternoon and evening transforming the restaurant into Wicker Park's The Violet Hour cocktail lounge.
In years past the restaurant has been "dressed up" as corporate chain restaurants Olive Garden and Taco Bell, as well as some local favorites with a twist, such as "Not Dougs" — complete with the real Doug Sohn of "Hot Dougs" at the counter — and "Luma's Corner," an indie homage to metal burger joint, Kuma's Corner.
The tradition began at the suggestion of an employee seven years ago.
"Someone was like, 'We should just go as another restaurant,' so we did," Hammel said.
This year's twist on the real deal will be the "The Violent Hour," a spookier version of The Violet Hour.
Hammel closed the restaurant Wednesday afternoon to begin hurriedly putting up the special decor that will include a whole different set of furniture and an entirely new store front. Lula will reopen at 7 p.m. in costume with 12 top Chicago bartenders on hand to mix special one-night-only signature cocktails with horror themes.
"So it'll just be a big drinking party," he said.
Like The Violet Hour, "The Violent Hour" will serve upscale snack foods such as tea sandwiches topped with eggs called "Croaked Madames," a play on their actual name, croque-madames.
The 12 mixologists will be dressed up in spooky get ups, such as prohibition-era zombies, and each have their own stations to mix their creations. Cocktails will go for $10 a piece, snacks for $6.
There will be no reservations, but drink tickets will be sold.
A spooky "trailer" for the event can be viewed here.